I’ve always had a penchant for pistachios, whether blended into buttercream frosting, creamy pistachio gelato, or strewn atop spiced muffins. The addition of cranberries takes these simple icebox pistachio cookies over the top, lending them a subtle sweetness and a spectacular appearance. Try one and you’ll see why they’ve taken up permanent residence on my counter this holiday season.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

My testers unanimously agreed that the combination of salty, nutty pistachios and sweet-tart cranberries make these cookies outstanding. Tester Robin Currie calls them “one of the simplest, most delicious cookies” you can make.

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for cranberry pistachio cookies--butter, dried cranberries, egg, flour, sugar, pistachios, and vanilla.
  • Butter–The recipe calls for unsalted butter, so if you’re using salted butter, skip adding the 1/4 teaspoon of salt called for in the recipe.
  • Egg yolk–Use a room temperature yolk for best results. It will blend more evenly into the cookie dough than a cold egg.
  • Pistachios–Depending on your preference or what you have on hand, you can use plain pistachios or roasted and salted nuts. Either will work in this recipe.
  • Cranberries–Use sweetened dried cranberries to add a little pop of sweetness to your cookies. If you have orange-flavored dried cranberries, they also will work well here. I don’t recommend using fresh cranberries for these cookies as they release liquid while baking.

How to Make This Recipe

Butter and sugar being beaten in a stand mixer, then vanilla and egg added to it.
  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until well combined and fluffy.
  2. Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla. Scrape down the side of the mixing bowl as needed.
Dry ingredients added to cookie dough in a stand mixer, then cranberries and pistachios being mixed in.
  1. Beat in the flour and salt until just combined.
  2. Add the cranberries and pistachios and mix until incorporated.
Cookie dough rolled into two logs, and sliced cookie rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  1. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  2. Slice the dough into 3/8-inch thick cookies and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350°F until lightly browned. Cool completely.
Nine cranberry pistachio cookies on a sheet of parchment with pistachios and dried cranberries scattered around them.

Common Questions

How long can I refrigerate the dough before baking?

I recommend baking your cookies within 3 days of stashing the dough in the refrigerator. If you want to store the dough longer, place the wrapped logs of dough in a resealable bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

What’s the best way to store these cookies?

Store the baked cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

How do you toast pistachios?

If you want to toast your pistachios before adding them to the batter, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake them at 350°F (180°C) until fragrant and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. If your nuts have any skins on them, you can remove them by gathering the warm toasted nuts in a kitchen towel and rubbing them together. The skins should fall off easily.

Remember to let the toasted pistachios cool completely before adding them to the cookie dough.

Helpful Tips

  • To make slicing the cookie dough easier, chop the pistachios to a small uniform size.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies. They will still be soft when you remove them from the oven but will firm up as they cool.
Five stacked cranberry pistachio cookies with another cookie leaning against the stack.

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Cranberry pistachio cookies in a cookie tin lined with green tissue paper.

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

5 / 9 votes
These festive cookies are adorned with sweet-tart dried cranberries and crunchy pistachios. They're the perfect addition to your holiday cookie collection.
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineAmerican
Servings30 cookies
Calories141 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time3 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup chopped pistachios
  • 3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries 

Instructions 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla extract until fully combined, making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Stir in the chopped pistachios and dried cranberries until fully incorporated.
  • Divide the dough in half, and form two 6-inch-long (15 cm) logs that are 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Wrap each log tightly with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. The dough can be chilled for a couple of days before baking.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and peel off the plastic wrap. Cut the ends off each log, and then slice each one into 3/8-inch-thick (1 cm) slices, or 13 or 14 equal-size slices per log. Place the slices on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 1⁄2 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) between each one.
  • Bake until the tops of the cookies are set and the edges are lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  1. Storage–The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.
  2. Freezing the dough–Store unbaked dough, wrapped in plastic, in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.
Live Well Bake Cookies Cookbook

Adapted From

Live Well Bake Cookies

Buy On Amazon

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 141 kcalCarbohydrates: 16 gProtein: 2 gFat: 8 gSaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 22 mgSodium: 21 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 7 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Danielle Rye. Photos © 2023 Angie Zoobkoff. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Three cranberry pistachio cookies on a heart-shaped red plate.

If you like pistachio shortbread, you’ll LOVE these cookies! The combination of slightly salty pistachios and tart/sweet cranberries puts these cookies over the top. The dough is quick to make and, once chilled, slicing and baking time is 20 minutes.

Two cranberry pistachio cookies on a white napkin.

Pouring myself a cup of mid-morning tea, I reached for a cranberry pistachio cookie. Three cookies later, I had to tell myself not to take another. They’re that good.

They are somewhat sweet because of the sweet dried cranberries (although I used the ones with 50% less sugar). They’re crunchy because of the pistachios and delicious because of the fine shortbread base.

The cookies are quick to make. I made the dough at night and had it in the refrigerator waiting to be popped into the oven just before my mid-morning break. Because they’re so festive looking, they’d also be an excellent cookie to bring to a friend’s house–if you could keep from eating them on the way.

These cranberry pistachio cookies are one of the simplest, most delicious cookies to make. They definitely look and taste more complex than the effort taken to make them!

I put one of the dough logs into the freezer for future baking. I’ll be all set to go next time we- or someone else- need a cookie fix!

The pistachio-cranberry combination is not only perfect taste-wise but also texture-wise. I used orange-flavored cranberries, and I loved the subtle citrus note so much s that if I had only regular cranberries, I would probably add some zest to the dough.

When I brought a cake stand stacked with these bejeweled cookies to the dinner table this weekend, there were plenty of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’ The cookies’ beautiful golden color flecked with ruby red cranberries and verdant pistachios would be perfect for holiday gifts or entertaining.

Like a true slice-and-bake cookie, these icebox cookies don’t spread much on the pan but instead keep their perfectly round shape. I can see swapping in whatever nuts you have on hand and other dried fruits as well into the base recipe. (Pecans and figs, perhaps? Almonds and apricots?)

The cranberry–pistachio combo has always been a favorite around our house. It appears frequently in salads and bread. This was my first time using it in cookies, and it won’t be the last.

The pistachio studded the cookies, and the cranberries provided sweet/tart bursts of flavor. We enjoy a salty finish to many cookies, so I topped about half with finishing salt, and we enjoyed them both ways, although being a salty-sweet girl, I preferred those with the finishing salt. We also enjoy a cranberry–white chocolate combination in cookies, so I may try swapping our a 1/3 each of the cranberries and pistachios for white chocolate next time.

Three cheers for cookies!!! And an extra HUZZAH for the slice-and-bake variety. As the headnote indicates, they’re simple to put together.

I used roasted and salted pistachios. (I prefer roasted and salted nuts and seeds in many of my baked goods as they add extra flavor and texture.) The package of dried fruit in my pantry that I thought were cranberries turned out to be cherries! But the end product was perfectly delicious! I recommend chopping the nuts and fruit into smaller, uniform dice as this makes it easier for rolling and slicing.

Depending on the flavor profile, time of day, and person eating them, you could serve these with anything from milk, coffee, or tea to a pilsner, glass of wine, or even a cocktail. Again, it’s simple and versatile for the win! I’ll be making these again.

I was attracted to this recipe because the cranberry-pistachio cookies had such a lovely colour. The recipe is easy to prepare and the result is a lovely crunchy crumbly cookie.

The biscuits maintained their shape well while cooking and did not spread on the baking tray, so they were able to be placed reasonably close together on the tray. They brown up nicely and crisp when nearly baked, hardening entirely when cool.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Each holiday season, I try one new recipe and this one was spectacular! Easy to make, beautiful & perfect balance of sweet & tart. Your pistachio shortbread was a hit last year, we’ll see if this one is the new favorite. Santa’s plate is ready to go for tonight. Happy Holidays, Leite Team 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Awesome recipe, so delicious! I made one change…I rolled the logs in finely chopped pistachios before chilling. Gives a nice finish to the edges!